20 Feb What is Al-Anon & Why is it Necessary?
Dealing with a loved one’s alcoholism can be extremely difficult and doing it alone with no guidance is even harder. There are myriad problems that you may run into when trying to navigate through your own life in relation to an alcoholic, and it can be easy to feel like things just continue to get worse and worse as time goes on.
Luckily, there is a place for those who have alcoholics in their lives to find support and create a community around themselves. That place is Al-Anon, and its program has helped numerous families and friends of alcoholics to learn how to live a happy and healthy life while effectively supporting their alcoholic loved ones.
The Al-Anon Program
If you are not familiar at all with Alcoholics Anonymous or any of its offshoot programs, you may not have any idea what the 12 steps are, what they mean, or how they work. Essentially, they are 12 principles or actions that can help an alcoholic person to get sober and stay sober. Al-Anon is a separate support group which has the purpose of creating a system of non-alcoholic people who have a close relation to alcoholics.
Typically, these meetings are somewhat similar to AA meetings but have a different message in the sense that they are directed toward people who do not have an addictive problem. There is a 12-step process for Al-Anon which is also similar to the original 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, but again altered to cater more to those who do not suffer from alcoholism themselves and are seeking effective ways to support their loved ones without enabling them to continue wreaking havoc in their lives.
Al-Anon meetings generally teach practices of loving detachment, general knowledge of the alcoholic disease, and ways to identify manipulation and dishonesty in their loved ones. This is all for the purpose of living a happy and healthy life in the midst of alcoholics who can make life very hard.
Why Do Families Need Al-Anon?
Families who have lived with alcoholics for an extended period of time may be familiar with some of the pitfalls that come along with the disease. For those who are not so acquainted with the practices of alcoholism, or just don’t have any idea how to deal with them in a way that doesn’t end up with hair being pulled out, Al-Anon is the perfect place to find support and groups of like-minded people that can assist struggling families and friends of alcoholics.
Without the help of other people who understand the disease of alcoholism and have found healthy ways to live alongside those who struggle with it, there are many problems that can arise from unhealthy coping habits, irrational reactions, and well-intentioned missteps. The most common of these issues is enabling, which many families may not realize is happening, but is one of the most dangerous and frustrating things that families with alcoholics play into. Al-Anon can provide you with the tools to identify and fix these problems in any particular situation as it comes up through a program of accountability and education.
If you are closely affiliated with an alcoholic, things may seem hopeless and difficult. However, many families and friends have learned effective tools in order to live alongside their loved one and assist them on their journey in recovery. It may not be easy, but it definitely works and allows for those close to alcoholics to learn practices that will help them to maintain their own sanity. If you are new to this process and do not know where to start, you can find more information about the Al-Anon program at al-anon.org/. Through this website, you can find Al-Anon meetings in your area, figure out where to start on your own journey of recovery, and get program literature to expand your knowledge of the alcoholic disease and how to support your loved one.